Misunderstanding Matt Slick on Purpose? · Another Video with Scarlett (excursus: Continuing with Bill Garthright) · And YET Another Video with Scarlett
A Ridiculous Dialogue between a Christian and an Atheist
Scarlett, 27 Oct. 2022
6:49 It's probable that the dialogue is not meant to be realistic dialogue.
"Please consider the following dialogue as a realistic example of how this works."
Does not equal "realistic dialogue" ...
Matt Slick used a minimum of talent for screen writing (probably rejected even for Rings of Power - point according to the criticisms I have heard of its dialogue - to make the dialogue realistic about something else - "how this works."
I have seen presuppositionalist defined in a very different way, when it classes CSL's proof of God in Miracles (chapter 3 excludes naturalism, after that exclusion of impersonal gods, of pantheism, of dualism, last narrowing down to one monotheism) as presuppositionalist bc it agree with Til.
8:31 Again, Matt Slick is boiling down lots of dialogues which he has held with different people, he's not giving a realistic example of how a dialogue works out in real life.
Allen is not so much a robot as a robot portrait of the typical atheist.
10:44 It should sound "robotic" if you were looking for realistic dialogue.
Matt is boiling down realistic conditions in the form of a robot portrait.
9:20 Let me ask you Scarlett, what you said about witnesses, what would it take for you to admit there were witnesses of miracles? Including the resurrection?
- Don Limoncelli
- I can probably speak for Scarlett. What would it take to admit that there were witnesses of miracles?
Verifiability and corroboration of what was seen rather than assertions. Verififiability and corroboration are the types of proof that are accepted in court proceedings. These are things that anyone can independently verify regardless of their beliefs. The 500 witnesses of the NT who supposedly "all saw at once," for example, is neither verifiable nor can it be corroborated.
It is not verifiable on several counts. First, we are not sure who wrote that this happened. No one knows the author of that statement. Second, several years elapsed between the event and the reporting of the event (yes, I am aware that it goes on to say, "many of whom are still alive today") as if you could go and find these nameless people and ask them about what they saw. Let's suppose someone in the first century actually was able to track down someone who supposedly saw the miraculous event. What does it matter? The author wants you, the 21st century reader, to buy the argument, not the fictional person who talked to a "witness" of the event. The author is asking the reader to accept at face value 2000 years later that "witnesses to the event were still around and you could have talked to them if you had been there, so it must be true that the event happened." The analogy to today would be somoeone claiming there was a bank robbery and perhaps four or five witnesses. Was there actually a bank robbery? You don't know. You were not there. So to convince you, the writer says, "I understand there were four or five witnesses who saw it. I can't name any of them, but if you wanted to, you could track them down and they would tell you the story just as I have, so it must be true." So here you are, not knowing if there ever was a bank robbery, and not being able to talk to any of the witnesses, and not knowing if there even are witnesses, and the writer expects you to accept the story as true. That is not evidence.
The story is not able to be corroborated, either. One of the hallmarks of evidence is that more than one person can describe the details of the story, and their explanations match. That is not the case here.
Presuppositional arguing is what the Qur'an uses, and it is just as fallacious. It says things like, "God created man and man is sinful. How could there be sinfulness unless God created man and Man sinned? Therefore, man's sinfulness proves God's existence." If you're going to consider presuppositional argumentation as conclusive, then you must accept the Qur'an as well because it uses the exact same reasoning.
- For me (not speaking for Scarlett), the problem isn't so much if there were witnesses to miracles. It's if there were miracles.
I generally accept when a religious person says they had an experience which convinced them to become a believer, unless I have very good reason to assume they're just making shit up to make some point. What I don't automatically accept is their explanation for what they experienced.
That said, how many actual eye-witness accounts are there of the resurrection? I mean identifiable, generally agreed to be historical, persons who in their own words describe meeting a physically resurrected Jesus.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Griexxt The eyewitness accounts we have are not available separately as primary sources, but resumed in all four Gospels plus Corinthians and only in part detailed there, we have these as secondary sources.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Don Limoncelli "the types of proof that are accepted in court proceedings."
History is not a court proceeding.
"The 500 witnesses of the NT who supposedly "all saw at once," for example, is neither verifiable nor can it be corroborated."
To us, right now or in foreseeable normal human future (Doomsday is outside "normal human").
They were presumably verifiable and corroborated to Paul. If not, explain how he dared make a claim which one could easily have disproven, and why no ancient enemies of Christianity have involved arguments like "Paulos made a claim about 500 witnesses, we went there and didn't find them" or sth.
"First, we are not sure who wrote that this happened. No one knows the author of that statement."
Tradition is the way we know authors of texts. Yes, documents from the original editor count as tradition too, but we don't have that close a tradition for texts 2000 years old. Saying "we don't know Paul wrote it" begs the question - why should we be suspicious of tradition this time, when generally we aren't?
"Second, several years elapsed between the event and the reporting of the event (yes, I am aware that it goes on to say, "many of whom are still alive today") as if you could go and find these nameless people and ask them about what they saw."
I can't, but in the first century it would have been doable.
"Let's suppose someone in the first century actually was able to track down someone who supposedly saw the miraculous event. What does it matter?"
Because the author is from the first century and several could have tracked it down.
"The author wants you, the 21st century reader, to buy the argument, not the fictional person who talked to a "witness" of the event."
Are you making the case that the Epistle could be from the 21st C?
"The author is asking the reader to accept at face value 2000 years later that "witnesses to the event were still around and you could have talked to them if you had been there, so it must be true that the event happened.""
A somewhat meagre account of what we are actually saying. Witnesses were still around, if there were any. If there weren't, false witnesses were, and they would typically have lived in Palestine, where they would have been persecuted by Jews and so not had very great incitement to stand up as false witnesses. St. Paul prior to his conversion had been involved in such persecutions.
So, the argument is not just "witnesses were around, or he wouldn't dare to say that" but also false witnesses were not likely around since any witness (true or false) had a high price to pay. People have died for frauds where they were the dupes, but who has died for frauds where he was the perpetrator? And no, Joseph Smith was not lynched over the Golden Plates, but over bigamy.
"The analogy to today would be somoeone claiming there was a bank robbery and perhaps four or five witnesses. Was there actually a bank robbery?"
No. That would not be a fair analogy, because a robbed bank these days would get attention in the press. With that in mind, three or four witnesses would be very inadequate compared to the lack of press coverage.
Also, there is no penalty for falsely pretending there was a bank robbery, unless you are a banker trying to fraud an insurance company or you are accusing a particular falsely of having seen him in a non-extant bank robbery.
A witness to the resurrection who was not worshipping with Christians would have been suspicious. Anyone worshipping with the Christians in the Holy Land would have been at risk.
"So to convince you, the writer says, "I understand there were four or five witnesses who saw it. I can't name any of them, but if you wanted to, you could track them down and they would tell you the story just as I have, so it must be true.""
No, you see anyone in Corinth who wanted to check could have asked him orally whom he could meet in the Holy Land. Or in letters not part of 2nd Corinthians. He could then have gone and actually checked.
The distance was not a total problem, since Corinth was a seafaring city.
"One of the hallmarks of evidence is that more than one person can describe the details of the story, and their explanations match."
There is no clear mismatch, and the several describing same event do not appear "in our court," but appeared "in the court of the Church" from which we then have several resumés. And about which we have the fact it was persecuted for them.
"It says things like, "God created man and man is sinful. How could there be sinfulness unless God created man and Man sinned? Therefore, man's sinfulness proves God's existence.""
It is actually a good point. Not for the Quran, but for God's existence. The Muslims are wrong about WHO God is, but roughly right about WHAT God is. And the point made is, sins are targetted as not just bad behaviour to reprove or stop on the spot to get rid of it, but dishonourable behaviour to be blamed in hindsight, in some cases even many years after they happened. If man were the ultimate lawgiver, and any law could change due to men's whims, why this mutual torture? But if there is a God who wrote His law in our hearts and if the first Man rebelled against Him, it both explains why we feel so much about certain standards and fail to live up to them. It proves a point the Bible and the Quran have in common against Atheism, but doesn't decide between Bible or Quran.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl Do you understand what is meant by "eye-witness account"? That someone else writes a story about there being eye-witnesses, is not that.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Griexxt You are using the word as it appears in law, but not as it actually applies in history.
In history, we next to never go by direct eyewithess accounts as in law courts, and when one uses other things totally than eyewitness accounts, it's archaeology, not history. Historic accounts basically function as wikis with one or more eyewitness accounts as the inputs.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl "In history, we next to never go by direct eyewithess accounts"
This is not true. I have plenty of books about historical events that are riddled with references to eye-witness accounts.
And historians do not refer to something as an eye-witness account if it isn't exactly that.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Griexxt "I have plenty of books about historical events that are riddled with references to eye-witness accounts."
Your book itself isn't an eyewitness account. The references to eyewitness accounts are not eyewitness accounts. Only the separate eyewitness account itself is what you mean by an eyewitness account.
Take a look at the oldest historical event you are referring to and tell me the year.
Ghettysburgh was not 2000 years ago. Nor was D-Day.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl "Your book itself isn't an eyewitness account. The references to eyewitness accounts are not eyewitness accounts. Only the separate eyewitness account itself is what you mean by an eyewitness account."
When talking about history as a science, it is obviously understood that a single account (eye-witness or not) of some event is not history.
These are books written by historians who, among other sources, use actual eye-witness accounts; texts written by the very people who experienced the thing they write about. The thing you said happens next to never.
If that is not what you meant, then please clarify.
"Take a look at the oldest historical event you are referring to and tell me the year."
"Ghettysburgh was not 2000 years ago. Nor was D-Day."
What do you mean by this? That we should relax our standards of what constitutes an eye-witness account because the evidence is old?
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Griexxt "When talking about history as a science, it is obviously understood that a single account (eye-witness or not) of some event is not history."
I would disagree - but then I don't consider history as a science in the first place.
"These are books written by historians who, among other sources, use actual eye-witness accounts; texts written by the very people who experienced the thing they write about."
Texts written or spoken by people etc.
And these oral or written texts, and earlier histories incorporating earlier such, ultimately come from eyewitness accounts.
When Diomedes wounded Aphrodite, unless Homer added fan fiction at that point, this ultimately came from Diomedes wounding a woman whom he thought pretty and thought could be the goddess Aphrodite.
"The thing you said happens next to never."
Excuse me, but if "other sources" are historical sources, they are also derived from eye-witness accounts. Or at least purported such.
"If that is not what you meant, then please clarify."
Hope the previous discussion clarifies, I was not referring to the text type you technically call eyewitness account, I was saying the epistemology boils down to eyewitness accounts, usually summarised and rehashed, and therefore not in the fresh form you refer to.
Eruption of Vesuvius. I don't think eyewitness accounts directly given became a standard major source for us for events back then soon after that.
"What do you mean by this? That we should relax our standards of what constitutes an eye-witness account because the evidence is old?"
Keep your standards for what technically constitutes an eye-witness account, but remember, except for frauds, history that only summarises accounts of this particular type rather than giving them is still built on such account transmitted or sometimes mistransmitted.
When a pharao pretended "the gods gave us victory" on a stele he could count on Egyptians reading it that the gods interfered in invisible ways (which the pharao was competent to understand) and the victory was by contrast seen by the pharao or his soldiers or both. They are ultimately crediting him with an eye-witness account, or rather a resumé of such. Such expectations can sometimes be foiled by a pharao being dishonest, but that's true for eye-witness accounts of your specific and technical type too.
The crucifixion scene in John claims to be an eyewitness account. (Btw, 33 AD is before 79 AD). St. Luke claims to be using eyewitness accounts and resumés of them evaluated by partial eyewitnesses for all of the Gospel.
So, a thing may ultimately be based on eye-witness accounts and be a credible historic source, even if it contains very few passages claiming to be eyewitness accounts.
Once a text "makes" such a "claim for historicity" or rather a community accepts it as historical, the task of a sceptic is not to ask for even more proof, but to consider where the transmission of eyewitness accounts into the story as a whole could have gone wrong.
If you want my opinion, the main bummer in tradition mistransmitting facts is conflation of times and of persons. When Theoderic "of Verona" is claimed by German legend to have beaten Ermaneric at Ravenna, the reality is, there were two battles of Ravenna, Ermaneric won the first, Theoderic the second. So, two battles, both at Ravenna, get conflated into one. Four battling parties, Ermaneric, the guy he beat, Theoderic, the guy he beat, get conflated into just two. You don't get a healing miracle from a battle or a resurrection from the dead from a murder.
9:56 He's refusing to present good evidence up to determining what Allen accepts (in general?) as good evidence.
On the exact same site, he's allowing Luke Wayne to say irreducible complexity is good evidence.
The point of the post you are quoting is "don't waste your time on people who have so made up their mind nothing can convince them"
10:11 So far, your analysis of John / Allen dialogue is a fairly good parallel to what you are accusing Matt Slick of doing by writing it.
10:59 And no, the conclusion is not that only believers can see the evidence.
Robotic or forced dialogue or not, it doesn't mean you are free to make words and phrases mean things they don't mean.
11:34 Like that we actually exist ... as persons or as complexes of atoms?
That the world, that other people exist.
And are like us.
11:58 No, starting with God being real and Bible true sets you up with a basis for explaining the world.
Now "A explains B" usually means "B proves A" (unless something other than A equally explained B).
This means, the starting point gives you a position to look for good proofs, not a need to accept just any proof.
12:10 Again, Matt Slick never claimed the conversation was supposed to be realistic in the sense of a conversation. He claimed it was realistic about how a fruitful exchange could work so as to avoid wasting time.
- Cranky Elder God
- And in what sense is the exchange even fruitful? The entire dialogue boils down to the position "I can't prove to you that god exists until you already believe that god exists". Slick does not present any evidence, but goes further by stating that evidence itself is pointless because one has to first believe -- er, presuppose -- that god exists any for any hypothetical evidence to be meaningful.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Cranky Elder God "The entire dialogue boils down to the position" [that you cited]
No, it doesn't. It boils down to "I can't prove to you that God exists as long as you keep believing and to all directions defending His non-existence" which is sth other than just not actively believing He exists.
"Slick does not present any evidence,"
In this particular video, which wasn't meant to do that. It was meant to discuss tactics.
"but goes further by stating that evidence itself is pointless because one has to first believe -- er, presuppose"
Not even that.
If I presuppose that God exists, this gives me an excellent view of the causalities that can also serve as evidence for the fact.
If the other presupposes that God does not exist, this goes beyond simply not presupposing He exists, and can be an active hindrance to seeing the evidence that is actually there.
- Cranky Elder God
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl For decades, scientists believed the coelacanth was extinct. In 1938, one was caught off the coast of South Africa. Neither the fisherman nor the scientists had to "pre-suppose" its existence in order to accept the incontrovertible evidence that it still lived.
At the 3:20 mark in the video, there is the following quote from Slick: "This means that no matter how convincing the evidence or good the logic, an unbeliever cannot come to the faith because his fallen nature will distort how he perceives the truth." I don't think see how this could be any clearer. Evidence is preemptively declared as irrelevant unless one is already believer; which excuses the theist from even the pretense of providing any. This also allows the theist to summarily dismiss any counter arguments or evidence, since such do not contain the premise -- oops, presupposition -- that god exists. They can be rejected out of hand, since the presenters "fallen nature will distort how he perceives the truth".
In science, this type of proposition is described as "unfalsifiable". An unfalsifiable proposition is generally useless, because it ultimately provides no predictive or explanatory power. In philosophy, I guess such propositions are classified as "apologetics".
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Cranky Elder God Coelocanths and similar things are material objects.
They are observable. So is Geocentrism and most Atheists have presuppositions against accepting it at face value.
Slick is making the point that many Atheists are very good at making their Atheism unfalsifiable.
Like, if you accepted Geocentrism at face value, that might make you reflect that some of the movements are too complex to be due to just gravity and inertia, notably retrogrades and the movements classed as aberration and parallax, and the persons would be too large to be biological, and they would need to have one boss not to be colliding all the time .... but of course you have presuppositions against angels or gods and well .... God, right? Hence, Heliocentrism.
And before you answer Heliocentrism is proven from the masses, that's on the presupposition that the only factors influencing are gravity and inertia, also known as exclusion of God and angels from the Astrophysical Method.
- Cranky Elder God
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl It's more than some fish being a material object -- it's part of evident reality. It's an objective observation that holds whether or not one has a "presupposition" for a certain state of the universe. If this god-being can't interact with the world in some meaningful and observable way, what purpose does it actually serve? Likewise, stating that atheists have a pre-supposition against geocentrism is just incoherent, and strikingly similar to Slick's argument. While everyday human experience may lend an intuitive appeal to geocentrism, there are no models, physical theories or quantitative observations -- collectively referred to as evidence -- that can justify any acceptance of geocentrism.
Of course, the usual pre-supp response is that I'm "pre-supposing" that empirical, measurable phenomena are some measure of truth, so how do I "know" that empiricism itself is true? That time-wasting hellhole of a discussion turns the idea of "truth" into a meaningless concept, which is the entire point. Thus "presupposition" -- that is, faith -- becomes the paramount factor in truth, derailing the entire conversation into a false equivalency of one faith vs another.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @Cranky Elder God "it's part of evident reality."
So is, unless you have a pre-supp against it, Geocentrism.
"the usual pre-supp response is that I'm "pre-supposing" that empirical, measurable phenomena are some measure of truth,"
This is not quite what the video involved.
"so how do I "know" that empiricism itself is true? That time-wasting hellhole of a discussion turns the idea of "truth" into a meaningless concept,"
OR, the better alternative, they remain meaningful, when you admit they involve your mind being created in the image of God or whatever else, better than evolution, could explain yourself and other men having a capacity for truth.
"Thus "presupposition" -- that is, faith -- becomes the paramount factor in truth, derailing the entire conversation into a false equivalency of one faith vs another."
I think you missed the point they are making. It means any faith that can't explain why there is an access to truth through a finite mind goes out. At least, if as I heard rumoured, the presuppers are parallels to CSL in Miracles (1947, second edition 1960).
12:32 Yeah, exactly in this case, namely if the atheist is looking for pieces of evidence he might have overlooked, it is a good strategy of John to ask "what would convince you?"
12:38 The presupp wants the atheist to change the whole starting point - true in some sense.
For instance, if the atheist evaluates historic evidence from a Humean perspective, "miracles don't happen" the Theist certainly wants to make him change that starting point. It is bad, not just because it leads away from Theism, but also because it involves a circle in proof.
Kevin R. Henke refuses to admit that he is basically "proving" against Biblical stories involving miracles, by stating he could accept miracles if proven in labs.
The miracles proven by the telescope (unless you use Heliocentrism, i e inverting what we prima facie see as a cop out) every day are "astronomy" and he doesn't want to discuss astronomy. He wants to discuss history, discuss historic texts involving miracles, discuss their credibility, while at the exact same time pretending only lab tests could convince him of a miracle. If he had any knowledge of history he would know historic facts usually do not show up in labs but in stories.
If you are interested, our debates so far are partially present on my sites and partially distorted as to order on his ...
Google Kevin R. Henke, Hans Georg Lundahl, Alexander, talking snake
12:46 No, the presupp's evidence can make sense to someone who has stepped back from a circular prejudice.
Like Kevin R. Henke's antimiraculous prejudice is circular.